Visual-Perceptual Difficulties In Children

“I can’t do my homework! It’s too hard!!”  Many of you have heard this complaint countless times.  Some children use this as an excuse not to do their work; however, others actually mean it.  Often, children have trouble with reading, writing, or math because they have difficulty understanding what they see.  Visual perceptual or visual processing difficulties affect how the brain perceives and processes visual information.  If we can’t make sense of what we are reading or writing, how are we expected to learn and acquire new information being taught to us?  Unfortunately, many of the children that experience these difficulties go undiagnosed for years. As a result, they may become frustrated or bored while in class and act out because they can’t see (understand) what’s on the board or read with relative ease.  It is usually the case that children with problems seeing are often considered the “behavioral child”.

Living with visual perceptual difficulties can be very confusing and disconcerting.  Therefore, if you believe that your child is experiencing difficulty in school because of a visual perceptual difficulty, seek the help of an occupational therapist or vision specialist.  Through the implementation of adaptations and/ or strategies your child can have greater success while in the school environment.  Just because he or she may have visual perceptual difficulties, doesn’t mean that they can not learn and overcome this challenge.  Occupational therapists and vision specialists have the training needed to help your child succeed.  Below are a list of possible warning signs that your child may be suffering from a visual perceptual deficit:

  • Letter reversals
  • Difficulty learning the alphabet
  • Difficulty recognizing words
  • Understanding basic math concepts
  • Maintaining letters on lines and within page margins
  • Organizing written information on paper
  • Holds paper close to face
  • Excessive rubbing of the eyes
  • Constant squinting/ blinking
  • Watery eyes or swollen eyelids

After meeting with a professional to discuss your child’s concerns, it is important to develop a plan that you can incorporate while at home.  Here is a free website that can be useful which contains exercises to help your child improve his/ her visual perceptual skills in a fun and interactive way.

By: Esther Gonzalez M.S. OTR/L Bil TSHH

Senior Partner

Adapting Spaces, LLC


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